“We count our miseries carefully,
and accept our blessings without much thought."
~ Chinese Proverb
I have met countless people who can describe in detail why something is unpleasant for them, why something isn’t working or what is going wrong in their life, and yet their gratitude is only a single word or short phrase. Does being able to explain in detail the reason why you have gratitude for something make a difference in the energy behind it?
I went on a quest for answers.
Some people I talked with had long laundry lists of gratitude, but they seemed to talk more about their problems and complaints. Others had shorter lists, and shared beautiful stories with me about each items on their list.
I met people who had similar items on their gratitude list and different responses to my question: “you are grateful for this because…..?”
One woman I met with had written “I am thankful for my health” on her gratitude list. When I asked her “You are grateful for your health because…..”, her answer was a sharp: “Well! Because I just am, and I am insulted to be asked why!.” It reminded me of when my parents would tell me do to something and when I asked why I heard: ” because I said so”. This answer didn’t help me to understand.
In contrast, I met with Nancy who also had written on her list “I am thankful for my health”. When I asked “she was grateful because….” her reply was: “I am thankful I have my health, because that means I can take care of my kids. I brought these beautiful children in the world and they depend on me. When I have my health I can enjoy them and take care of them. And that make me feel such a deep feeling for love and life, that I call that a grateful feeling.” In order to feel the depth of her gratitude Nancy believes that she must be willing to know why she feels gratitude. Anything less, to her, is simply lip service.
I find that every time I do this exercise I find new feelings around each incident I list in Gratitude. Several other people shared with me how doing this exercise made a difference in the depth of their understanding and increased their feelings of gratitude.
“He who knows others is learned;
He who knows himself is wise.”
~ Lao-tzu, Tao te Ching
For this Thanksgiving season, do this for yourself and see if there is any difference in the depth of your feelings of Gratitude.
Write down a few things on that you are Grateful for.
And then continue the sentence with: because…..
See what you can discover with your because.
"The important thing is not stop questioning our reasons.
Never lose a holy curiosity.”
~ Albert Einstein
(c) 2009 excerpt from book: Stress Out, show stress who's the boss
Focus on the reasons to complain = stress
Focus on the reasons for gratitude = happy
More happy = less stress
Stress is a constant in our lives - such a constant that we actually don’t realize we are under stress, we think it’s “just part of life.”
Health surveys report that over 70% of people feel stress everyday. Some stress is helpful, but most stress is destructive; it can age you and it can kill you.
This special book brings together advice from experts in their fields; plus stories and testimonials from individuals interviewed during extensive search for easy solutions that help to show stress who’s the boss.